Shawn Vaske Dr. Carolyn Ayers LH105 Origins of Human Thought and Culture 12/10/13 Short Answer (D) Examination Question One In relation to the character in Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon, Hagar in the Bible is abused and mistreated by Sarai the wife of Abram, much like the way Milkman disrespects Hagar in the novel.
Translated as “forsaken” in Hebrew, Hagar represents the victim of a selfish individual’s actions; Sarai sends Hagar into exile after she discovers Abram conceived a child with her despite the fact that Sarai herself was barren, and Milkman uses Hagar as an object of sexual satisfaction ather than a human being with natural rights. He does Hagar a disservice by considering her body “so free, so abundant, it had lost its fervor.
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There was no excitement, no galloping of blood in his neck or his heart at the thought of her” (91). In the Bible God tells Hagar that her legacy will live on through the descendants of her son Ishmael and “they will be too many to count” (Gen. 16:10). This can also be compared to Song of Solomon by Milkman’s acceptance of Hagar’s death as a result of his immature actions, thus prompting him to carry around a box of her hair as a memorial to her life.
Question Two The novel Song of Solomon is above all else a story of love and the Journey of discovering peace within yourself. Morrison seeks to provide a connection not only between her native African folk culture, but also with the corresponding book in the Bible “Song of Songs” otherwise known as “Song of Solomon. ” The characters’ names in the story express some of the past grievances each of them carries with them, “names they got from yearnings, gestures, flaws, events, mistakes, weaknesses.
Names that bore witness” (330). The use of song as a means of expressing emotions s more effectual than ordinary language, and so this story sings to us about a person’s discovery of love and acceptance of oneself, and furthermore the many lives that were touched as a result; love is the most infectious of diseases. Question Four One of the major themes behind this novel speaks of the previous enslavement of African American people forced to work on the cotton plantations in the Southern part of the United States.
Guitar represents the separation racism causes amongst the community and the main focus of suffering in their society; Guitar always eferences “white people as unnatural. As a race they are unnatural” (157). The Northern United States exists because The Confederation (and therefore slavery) was unable to permanently secede from the Union. Guitar references the continued feeling of segregation and persecution the Blacks suffer at the hands of white people and how “the killing goes on and on” (157).
Question Five Pilate Dead could possibly be considered the protagonist in the novel given her role as the moral guide and selfless personality; even at the time of her death she wishes she would “a knowed more people. I would of loved ’em all. If I’d a knowed homonym “pilot,” describing her mission of leading people to find their moral and spiritual destination in life.
Referencing the Biblical character of Pontius Pilate of Judea in comparison with the book character, we can deduce that Pilate embodies the belief that doing what is right is not always popular, and doing what is popular is not always right. Question Six Morrison wishes to place emphasis not on the resolution of the story of Milkman, but on the Journey that he undertook to discover his personal place in society which ed to his acceptance of himself; more often than not, the experience originates from the labor one undertakes in order to reach a goal.
By leaving the conclusion of the story vague in detail, we are invigorated to take Milkman’s story to heart and remember that we are the masters of our own fate. The fact that Milkman “surrendered to the air… [and rode] it,” stresses the statement Morrison argues: given the conditions we find ourselves in, we characterize and define the strength of our characters by utilizing the goodness in our lives and finding peace within chaos.